December 17, 2008

Time’s Person of the Year: Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama is Time’s Person of the Year for 2008. Why? “For having the confidence to sketch that kind of future in this gloomy hour:”

“Two years from now, I want the American people to be able to say, ‘Government’s not perfect; there are some things Obama does that get on my nerves. But you know what? I feel like the government’s working for me. I feel like it’s accountable. I feel like it’s transparent. I feel that I am well informed about what government actions are being taken. I feel that this is a President and an Administration that admits when it makes mistakes and adapts itself to new information.’”

And also “for showing the competence that makes Americans hopeful that he will pull it off.”

“Can he really achieve all that?” asks Time Magazine. “Plenty of voters will be happy if he aces only Item 1 on his list.”

Perhaps this is not what as many people throughout the US (and even more throughout the world) would hope for. This might be not enough. Nor might be the achievement of all of the other above mentioned goals. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of “perception,” even though there is no doubt that psychology matters in politics. But good luck all the same.

Journalistic courtesy

I wonder what would the mainstream international newspapers have written had this happened to the ruling Italian center-right coalition. Well, I can’t say it with certainty, but my guess is that they would have written some very different articles … hey, wait a moment, different from what? Actually, now that I think about it, they didn’t write anything at all … Never mind, let’s come back to the point: what would they have written? But, to put things in chronological order, what actually happened?

It happened that Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party won by large margin regional elections in Abruzzo. But, what is more, at least in my personal opinion, Abruzzo is the central Italian region where the previous center-left Democratic Party (PD) governor had to step down following an alleged public health scam. Furthermore, Abruzzo is where there are 40 suspects in the investigation by the Pescara Public Prosecutor's office, on the alleged bribes for public contracts, which brought about the arrest of Mayor, Luciano D'alfonso, who is also the regional secretary of the PD.

Then again what would the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, and other liberal newspapers have written had that (something analogue) happened to the conservative coalition? Obviously I can’t say it with certainty, but I might have an idea of the amount of coverage and of the arguments which might have been advanced. Never mind though—different political views, different standards of journalistic courtesy …